08 February 2009

Gimme gimme carb treatment

Sunday mornings around here are pleasant. Being an early riser, I have a few hours to myself before the SO gets up and joins me. On Sunday mornings I like to spend this time watching the Brit soap opera Coronation Street (the week's episodes are all aired from 7:30 to 10 am on CBC). Now, unless a show features, say, Cylons or a certain bleached-blond vampire, I can almost never give them my undivided attention. So while Coronation Street is on, I'll clean or catch up on the week's newspapers or--most enjoyably--bake. Not only is baking therapeutic, but the 1950s housewife in me loves the idea of my guy waking up to the smell of freshly baked cookies or bread.

Today my baking foray turned out better than usual. I made cinnamon-raisin bread that was like a lighter version of cinnamon rolls. Quite addictive. Next time I plan on adding an icing sugar glaze. You know, to make it even more ridiculously irresistible. We had it fresh out of the oven for brunch, buttered and sliced alongside scrambled eggs and bacon.

And because sharing is a virtue, here's the recipe (based on one from my KitchenAid mixer instruction manual). Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

1/2 cup milk
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
3 Tbs butter or margarine
2 pkgs (aka 2 Tbs) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (105F to 115F)
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins

Cinnamon Swirl

1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs butter, softened

Place milk, sugar, salt, and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time [Note: I found a total of 5 cups of flour to be plenty] and raisins, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, mix sugar and cinnamon for swirl.

Punch dough down and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a rectangle approximately 9 x 14 inches. Spread each half with 1 tbs softened butter and sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting at a short end, roll the dough tightly. Pinch to seal the seam. Pinch the ends and turn them under. Place the dough, seam side down, in well-greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pans.

Cover, let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. If desired, brush tops with beaten egg white.

Bake at 375F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown (and sounds hollow when tapped). Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks. If desired, once completely cool, drizzle with an icing sugar glaze.

Makes 2 loaves

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